Are Polaris Slingshots Legal in Pennsylvania?
If you’ve seen a three-wheeled, two-seater vehicle cruising down the street in Pennsylvania, it might have been a Polaris Slingshot. But what are these vehicles, and are they legal in Pennsylvania?
Polaris Slingshots are autocycles. These vehicles are governed in the same way as motorcycles in that they must be registered and insured to operate legally. Because autocycles are treated as motorcycles, operators injured in accidents will likely be unable to turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance for compensation. If you are injured in an accident, whether as the autocycle driver or passenger car driver, you may be able to sue for damages. Pedestrians, bicyclists, car drivers, and passengers might be limited regarding their recovery based on the type of insurance they have in Pennsylvania. If you were hurt while driving your Polaris Slingshot, you will not have to meet the serious injury threshold to sue for non-economic damages.
Call our Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at (215) 709-6940 to set up a free case review with The Reiff Law Firm today.
Are Polaris Slingshots and Other Autocycles Legal in Pennsylvania?
Polaris Slingshots are classified as autocycles, which are three-wheeled motorcycles with seating for riders and are defined in 75 Pa.C.S. § 102. Because of this, Polaris Slingshots are governed by the same laws as motorcycles in Pennsylvania.
This new category of vehicle was created in 2016 in response to the growing popularity of Polaris Slingshots and other autocycles, especially in areas like Philadelphia. While autocycles are governed by many of the same statutes as motorcycles, riders notably do not need to have a motorcycle license to drive them. However, they do need Class C driver’s licenses.
Per Pennsylvania’s Autocycle Law, all laws that apply to motorcycles apply to autocycles unless otherwise stated. This means that helmets must be worn when operating an autocycle unless the rider is above the age of 21 and has two years of riding experience.
Autocycles like Polaris Slingshots must be registered in the same way as motorcycles. And, since the laws that apply to motorcycles apply to autocycles, you will need to get insurance to legally operate your Polaris Slingshot in Pennsylvania. Once your autocycle is properly registered and insured, you can ride it anywhere you can ride a motorcycle.
Because Polaris Slingshots, dirt bikes, and other unique vehicles are more dangerous than cars, law enforcement might pay special attention to these drivers. While autocycle drivers are not always required to wear helmets in Pennsylvania, doing so may be wise, as these vehicles are uncovered and victims might sustain head injuries in accidents if they do not wear helmets.
Polaris Slingshot Accidents and Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Laws
Polaris Slingshots and other similar vehicles are especially common in metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania like Philadelphia. Since most motorcycle laws apply to autocycles, that means that personal injury protection insurance will not cover Polaris Slingshot accidents.
If you are a driver in Pennsylvania, you most likely know that Pennsylvania is a choice, no-fault state for accidents and insurance. According to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1705, drivers can purchase full or limited tort coverage. Their decision will dictate when they can sue for non-economic damages after a crash.
While personal injury protection insurance covers most auto accidents, it does not include coverage for motorcycle accidents and, by extension, autocycle accidents. This means that if you were injured while riding a Polaris Slingshot in Pennsylvania, you could not file a claim with your PIP insurance. Instead, our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers will help you file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Even if Pennsylvania’s no-fault system applied to autocycles, victims would likely meet the serious injury threshold. Although Polaris Slingshots have seat belts, they do not have airbags or crumple zones, making them very dangerous vehicles, especially when involved in serious collisions with passenger cars, trucks, or any larger vehicles.
If an autocycle driver hurts you, you will be able to file a claim with your personal injury protection insurance in Pennsylvania. If you have limited tort insurance, you will only be permitted to file a lawsuit to recover pain and suffering damages if your injuries are severe. If you have full tort insurance, you can sue for non-economic damages regardless of the seriousness of your injuries.
Does Pennsylvania Law Limit Compensation for Victims of Polaris Slingshot Accidents?
When you file a lawsuit following an autocycle accident in Pennsylvania, you can recover compensation for all damages related to your injuries. This will be the case whether you were injured as a Polaris Slingshot rider or passenger car driver.
Pennsylvania does not limit recovery of damages for injury victims. That said, your recovery will be predicated on the evidence you can provide. For example, when it comes to proving that you require economic damages, present all evidence of your financial losses. And, when non-economic damages are on the line, providing a personal statement explaining your reduced quality of life can be especially impactful.
Comparative fault laws can sometimes affect a victim’s recovery. For example, suppose you were riding a Polaris Slingshot at the time of your accident. Because of predetermined notions that Polaris Slingshots drivers are irresponsible or reckless, it might be wrongly assumed that you share fault for your damages. Because Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative fault standard with a 51% bar, compensation can be diminished according to a victim’s shared fault.
Victims hit by Polaris Slingshots might also feel the effects of Pennsylvania’s comparative fault system, which is why anticipating this possible situation and rising above it is important.
Because autocycle drivers might operate their vehicles more recklessly, given their size and intended use, punitive damages might be available to victims struck by autocycle drivers who demonstrate gross negligence in Pennsylvania.
Call Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Accident Today
Call the Chester, PA motorcycle accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to get your case reviewed for free today.